Perfect Movies

Perfect Movies: Introduction

If any of you have read any of my previous entries, you may have already sussed that I am a media junkie: TV shows, movies, commercials, and the general ephemeral bits that bob in time’s wake and the ever-widening cultural river—these are the things of which…

Perfect Movies: Dazed and Confused

Nostalgia is a powerful force: the sentimental longing for a past connected to personal and positive memories is the kind of feeling that, when brought up in conversation, makes older people unbearable to younger generations; meanwhile, those who have gained a certain experience in life know that the callous youth that reject their…

Perfect Movies: Pulp Fiction

In 1994, shortly after I turned 12, my father took me to see Pulp Fiction in the theaters. He and I had both been raving for weeks about how great the movie looked based on the trailers airing on TV, and the reviews that came out only confirmed what we both assumed: that this was…

Perfect Movies: I ♥ Huckabees

“What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m doing the best that I can. I know that’s all I can ask of myself. Is that good enough? Is my work doing any good? Is anybody paying attention? Is it hopeless to try and change things? The African guy is a sign, right?…

Perfect Movies: Goodfellas

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” This wry confession comes from the narrator and protagonist of the film–who will soon be formally introduced as Henry Hill–hovering over a body in the trunk of his car, bathed in the red light of his brake lights in the darkness…

Perfect Movies: The ‘Burbs

  If there’s two things I love in this life, it’s comedy and living in the suburbs. The comedy part is easy enough to understand: because funny things are funny. But why the suburbs? For one, I’m neither a city nor country mouse: I’ve lived the rural life and found it boring and very briefly…

Perfect Movies: The Breakfast Club

It is a truth universally acknowledged that being a teenager sucks. Not objectively, of course: as an increasingly cantankerous adult, I look at teenagers and want to let them know that they are young and healthy and will never be this free of full of promise again…

Perfect Movies: The Big Lebowski

The Dude abides. But how? With the Gulf War raging in the background and as the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune–mostly concerning a soiled rug that really tied the room together that escalates into a wild series of improbable events–fall about him…

Perfect Movies: Blade Runner

Do androids dream of electric sheep? This question–the title of Philip K. Dick’s novel that serves as the basis for 1982’s Blade Runner–becomes the film’s central thesis, as android bounty hunter Rick Deckard is tasked with bringing in six Nexus-6 androids that have gone…

Perfect Movies: American Psycho

“You like Huey Lewis & The News?” I sure do, and Patrick Bateman makes a great argument for the strengths of their 1983 commercial breakthrough album, Sports. It would be a great moment in any retro film for the main character to espouse his love of mainstream…

Perfect Movies: Monkey Business

There may be no more perfect comedy configuration on film than the Marx Brothers. I have had some dark days in my life–as have us all–and despite any hardship or emotional upset, I can turn on a Marx Brothers movie…

Perfect Movies: A Hard Day’s Night

No film has ever captured the excitement of being young–and the energy, pluck, and spirit that goes along with it–better than The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. And it doesn’t come from the plot of the film, which is nominally a day in the life of The Beatles as they get ready to do a TV appearance…

Perfect Movies: Saving Private Ryan

Many films have been made glorifying war: from Sands of Iwo Jima to American Sniper, American films in particular like to depict soldiers who fight the country’s battles across the globe in a heroic light. And, to be fair, there have been numerous anti-war films made–All Quiet on the Western…

Blues_Brothers_Jake_And_ElwoodPerfect Movies: The Blues Brothers

“We’re on a mission from God.” And it’s not just a boast or else some tough-sounding phrase when spoken with a thick Chicago accent: Jake and Elwood Blues are literally chosen by God to save the orphanage they grew up in. Not that either of them are religious or even particularly…

amadeus_conductingPerfect Movies: Amadeus

What makes a genius? Divine inspiration? Hard work? A discipline forged in fire and molded by repetitive strikes from the hammer in the soul? Or just the foolish manic artistry that comes from torrents of flowing ability? The answer is yes. All of these…

Perfect Movies: Blazing Saddles

There are great films that change the landscape of cinema: your Citizen Kanes and Godfathers and Days of Heavens and such and such. Then you have films that are moving depictions of the human condition and of overcoming adversity to find one’s place in the world: The Color Purple, for example, and another film I’m…

ENDLESS_SUMMER_50THPerfect Movies: The Endless Summer

Every movie needs a goal for its heroes to work towards–a holy grail or treasure they seek. In romances, it’s love; in action movies, it’s defeating an enemy; in comedies it’s winning over an adversary. In The Endless Summer, it’s the perfect wave. Along their journey, our intrepid heroes Mike Hynson and Robert August find…

chasingamy-bannerPerfect Movies: Chasing Amy

Movies don’t have to be glamorous affairs of great spectacle and directorial flourishes that astonish the viewer to be perfect. Sometimes a small film composed of all-too-human emotions can speak volumes more than highly concentrated dramatics with people anguishing over unspeakable tragedies. Sometimes it can just be about a young guy who doesn’t know how…

Malick_banner2Perfect Movies: Terrence Malick’s First 5 Films

Terrence Malick is one of the most interesting directors of both the 20th and 21st century. For decades known as a reclusive auteur who rarely made a film–and when he did they were universally hailed for their meditative tone and brilliant cinematography–Malick abruptly broke away from the rarity of his releases and within the past…

The_Godfather_Part_II_posterPerfect Movies: The Godfather: Part II

Crime, and specifically gangster, movies have come a long way since the early days of cinema. From early lurid crime pictures like Howard Hughes’ pre-Hays Code Scarface in 1932 that was heavily edited so as to not glorify the gangster lifestyle, to the 1983 version starring Al Pacino that made a concerted effort to alternately…

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